It’s almost impossible to create a limited bucket list for Southern Africa. With South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland – now known as the Kingdom of Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia, and Namibia, Southern Africa covers a total area of 4 262 398 km2. Here are the oldest desert in the world, forests, grasslands, mountains older than Everest, and massive waterfalls, all encircled by an extensive coastline. Temperatures vary from 500C to -20oC. The incredible wildlife is unique, and the people, diverse and welcoming.
1. Cape Town – South Africa
Africa’s most cosmopolitan city is also the oldest city in South Africa. The Dutch East India Company used the location as a massive fruit and vegetable garden supplying their trade ships. Part of which still exists today. Drenched in history, this bustling university city is a mecca for the international film industry. Robben Island, the V&A Waterfront, the Bo-Kaap and the ghosts of District 6, not to mention Table Mountain, Cape Point, and the Castle of Good Hope, are only a handful of the wonders, both natural and man-made, of this remarkable city.
2. Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe & Zambia
Also known as Mosi-oa-Tunya, The Smoke That Thunders’, the Falls can be seen, and heard, 40kms away. This one-and-a-half kilometer long, approximately 108-meter-high drop of 550 million liters of water per minute is overwhelming. One of the best ways to see the Falls is via the Flight of the Angels – a helicopter ride that soars high above the power and majesty of the crashing water. Spanned by a historical bridge, the Falls offers plenty of scope for adventure. From bungee jumping, gorge swinging, zip-lining, to white water rafting and canoeing, guided foot tours, swimming in Devil’s or Angel’s pools, or exploring the national parks and relaxing on a sunset cruise. Victoria Falls is unforgettable.
3. Chobe National Park – Botswana
A little over an hour from Victoria Falls, the deep, cobalt blue Chobe River flowing over lush floodplains, cathedral-like forests of mopane trees, sandy terrain, and woodlands nourishes the Chobe National Park. It’s an almost other-worldly gathering place for huge herds of elephant and buffalo in Botswana and from Zimbabwe. The list of species that come to drink from this permanent water supply are too numerous to mention, but the 4 noticeably different geographical regions in this pristine wilderness are the perfect locations in which to immerse yourself. Here your soul will be enriched and your heart fed.
4. Johannesburg & Soweto – South Africa
At 2 300km2, the greater Johannesburg metropolis is larger than London, New York and Sydney, and is also the largest man-made forest in the world. Jo’burg which is how locals refer to it, is a major financial city with roots deep in the country’s goldmines. Other windows into the most recent history of South Africa are the Apartheid Museum, Mandela House Museum on Vilakazi Street and Constitution Hill, ex-military prison and fort, is now the guardian of the rights of every South African citizen.
Look out for more ‘bucket-list’ ideas coming soon!